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Bring Your Cabinets Back to Life with a Fresh Coat of Paint

Painting Kitchen Cabinets Checklist by author Meghan Carter

  • How to prep your cabinets before you paint.
  • The best type of paint to use.
  • Professional painting techniques and tips.
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What You Need to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

  • Drop Cloth
  • Mild Soap
  • Clean Sponge
  • Clean Cloth or Paper Towels
  • Bucket
  • Screwdriver
  • Paint Can Opener or Flathead Screwdriver
  • Liquid Deglosser
  • Lint Free Rag
  • Clean, High Quality Paintbrushes
  • Oil Based Primer
  • Oil Based Paint
  • Urethane
  • Resealable Plastic Bags
  • Permanent Marker

Steps for Preparing to Paint Kitchen Cabinets


  • Estimate how long it will take you to remove everything from your kitchen cabinets.
    • Clearing Out Kitchen Cabinet Time: ________________________
  • Estimate how long it will take you to clean your kitchen cabinets.
    • Cleaning Kitchen Cabinet Time: __________________________
  • Estimate how long it will take you to prime your kitchen cabinets.
    • Priming Kitchen Cabinets: ___________________________
  • Read the primer label and find how long it suggests waiting before you start painting your kitchen cabinets.
    • Primer Dry Time: ___________________________________
  • Estimate how long it will take you to paint your kitchen cabinets.
    • Painting Kitchen Cabinets:____________________________
  • Read the paint label and find how long it suggests waiting before putting on a second coat of paint.
    • Paint Dry Time before Second Coat of Paint: ______________________
  • Estimate how long it will take you to apply a second coat of paint to your kitchen cabinets.
    • Applying a Second Coat of Paint: ______________________
  • Read the urethane label and find how long a fresh coat of paint should dry before applying urethane.
    • Paint Dry Time Before Applying Urethane: ________________________
  • Estimate how long it will take for you to apply the urethane.
    • Applying the Urethane Time: _________________________________
  • Read the urethane label and find how long it takes for the urethane to completely cure.
    • Urethane Cure Time: ______________________________
  • Estimate how long it will take you to put the cabinet doors back on and put your kitchen supplies and materials back in the cabinets.
    • Putting it All Back Together Time: ___________________________
  • Look back over the list. Starting from the top of the list going down, mark how much you can get done in one day. Try to only allow 8 hours of work for each day because often times we underestimate how long a task will take.
  • Add up how many days you have estimated the work and drying time will take. That is how long you will be without a kitchen if you work straight through. If you are a weekend warrior, you may be without a kitchen for a couple weeks. Be prepared for the process to take an extra day or two. Things don't always go as planned.

Steps for Painting Kitchen Cabinets
  • Remove cabinet doors and drawers.
  • Remove all cabinet hardware.

  • Put the cabinet hardware and screws in resealable plastic bags to keep it from getting lost.
  • Label each bag full of cabinet hardware with a permanent marker.
  • Clean the kitchen cabinets with a mild soap and water.
  • Dry the cabinets with a clean cloth.
  • Rub liquid deglosser on the cabinets.
  • Let the liquid deglosser dry for the time listed on the label.
  • Prime the back of the cabinet doors and the cabinet drawers.
  • Prime the top cabinets.
  • Prime the bottom cabinets.
  • Allow the primer to dry for the amount of time suggested on the primer label.
  • Prime the front of the cabinet doors.
  • Allow the primer to dry for the amount of time suggested on the primer label.
  • Paint the back of the cabinet doors and the cabinet drawers.
  • Paint the top cabinets.
  • Paint the bottom cabinets.
  • Allow the paint to dry for the amount of time suggested on the paint label.
  • Paint the front of the cabinet doors.
  • Allow the paint to dry for the amount of time suggested on the paint label.
  • Apply a second coat of paint to the back of the cabinet doors and drawers.
  • Apply a second coat of paint to the top cabinets.
  • Apply a second coat of paint to the bottom cabinets.
  • Allow the paint to dry for the amount of time suggested on the paint label.
  • Apply a second coat of paint to the front of the cabinet doors.
  • Allow the paint to dry for the amount of time suggested on the urethane label.
  • Apply the urethane to the back of the cabinet doors and drawers.
  • Apply the urethane to the top cabinets.
  • Apply the urethane to the bottom cabinets.
  • Allow the urethane to dry for the amount of time suggested on the urethane label.
  • Apply the urethane to the front of the cabinet doors.
  • Allow the urethane to completely cure for the amount of time suggested on the urethane label.
  • Put the cabinet hardware back on the kitchen cabinets.
  • Rehang the cabinet doors.
  • Insert the cabinet drawers in the cabinet bases.
  • Put your kitchen items back in the cabinets.
  • Enjoy having a kitchen again.



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